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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Freedom of religion is redundant

I got a bit of a giggle out of this National Post story’s headline: Cannabis involved in the anointment of Jesus Christ? The image that pops instantly to mind is of Jesus and his twelve apostles sitting around taking hits from a bong, which isn’t really what the article is about. Instead the article raises an interesting and important issue: what is a religion and what is freedom of religion? As a brief background:

[Professor Ruck] was testifying at the trial of two members of the Church of the Universe, Peter Styrsky and Shahrooz Kharaghani, who run the G13 Mission branch of the church in the Beaches section of Toronto. They are both charges of street-level marijuana trafficking.

They are asking Ontario Superior Court Justice Thea Herman to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the country’s marijuana laws violate their freedom of religion under the Charter of Rights.

The Church of the Universe believes that the consumption of marijuana will bring an individual closer to God. Professor Ruck was there to testify that this is not unusual in the history of the world.

Personally I’ve never heard of this religion, and frankly I suspect that it does not have a particularly large following. But does that matter? If this is what they believe, then from the perspective of the constitution, why shouldn’t it be protected just as strongly as a Catholic’s belief? If you think that Catholic Priests should not be forced to marry homosexual couples then surely you would agree that someone of another religion should not be forced to give up their sacrament?

I am going to assume that some of you are going to leap to the conclusion that this religion is nothing but a bogus excuse for a couple of pot heads to get high. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t, but let us say for the sake of argument that it isn’t. Let’s say that this is truly a deeply held faith of those individuals. What then?

Do you say that it is a cult and not a religion? How are we going to define religion then? Does it take a certain number of people; if so how many? Does it take a certain degree of longevity; if so how long? Or is it that it has to have some political influence; if so do we really want to live in such a society?

The reality is that all this is interesting but irrelevant to how we should be making laws. The freedom of religion is made redundant if the law recognizes individual liberty. Individual liberty covers all religions and all beliefs. If an individual does not want to perform a service that they feel is immoral, such as marrying homosexuals, they should be free to make that decision. If an individual wants to smoke pot to get closer to a higher being then they should be free to do so as well. Hell, they should be free to do so even if they are simply looking for a way to kill a couple of hours.

If we all recognize that an individual is capable of making their own decisions then we do not need freedom of religion, because we already have freedom.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on April 22, 2010 | Permalink


Excellent article. I concure!

Posted by: Francois Bregaint | 2010-04-22 9:45:33 AM

Bang on Hugh, and the reason why the state should get out of the business of marriages and replace with civil contract law. The Catholic Church could have their standard boiler plate conditions while the silly smokers could choose to have their own. The man-sheep love society might have a problem with sheep not being able to (allegedly) consent ;>(

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-04-22 10:25:16 AM


Posted by: Charles | 2010-04-22 11:09:24 AM

Hugh, I think you are rather shaky ground in stating that total individual liberty covers all religions and beliefs, meaning that it should do so. What then about the individual liberty to practise human sacrifice or sex with minors (6 or 7 year olds) to say nothing of the practice of honour killings? I am not saying we must not have personal freedom, but it must be balanced with other things such as personal responsibility, personal accountability and the basic to do no harm.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-04-22 11:15:38 AM


All three examples you cited are acts which violate of other peoples' rights. I can't speak for Hugh, but I assumed he meant peaceful religious practice (i.e. as long as the religious practice doesn't violate other peoples' rights).

Posted by: Charles | 2010-04-22 11:39:07 AM

Actually there is a lot to the claims of the Church of the Universe, and considerable academic support for the role of cannabis in the Bible.

Welcome to the Apocalypse. Cannabis, aka keneh bosem is the Revelation of the Tree of Life (Revelation 22).

The Holy annointing oil was poured on the altar of incense and then burned, The Lord spoke to Moses through the pillar of smoke, the Shekinah.

For a greater explanation see








This case has no bearing on the Tree of Life or the Church of the Universe, it will be a judgement of the Canadian legal system which in this case has alligned itself with the Roman Catholic Church, using one of Ceasars's priests against the COU. This is how it starts....

There is more healing power in cannabis than all the churches of the world

Make way for the Tree of Life!

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-22 1:26:06 PM

Well, Hugh, nationhood is on similar ground. You can declare your back five an independent nation, but that won't make it so. Generally, in order for your claim to be valid, you have to meet the following conditions:

1. Defined territory;
2. Permanent population;
3. Government (even if it's only you); and now the BIG one:
4. Capacity to enter relations with other states; in other words, getting other states to recognize you as a fellow state.

Since religions are more or less ethnopolitical constructs with spiritual underpinnings, a similar situation prevails with them. In that they have a set of mores and rules everyone is expected to follow, they're very much like a society--at least, any society before 1960 or so.

In both cases the common denominator is recognition. Winning recognition, by whatever means, takes as long as it takes; it is not a by-the-numbers proposition. Sorry, but when it comes to social evolution, there is no convenient flowchart to follow.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-22 2:18:52 PM

Doctor, you should know that cannabis isn't a tree.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-22 2:21:10 PM

As I've said for a long time, the drug culture is nothing more than a cult. It is a danger to the public, as much as sex offenders, Holocaust deniers, Canadian "history", and the Liebral/NDP/Green Party. They must be stopped for the good of all.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-04-22 2:32:21 PM

Shane cannabis may not be a tree, but it grows as big as atree and can look like one as well

Hey Zebulon, cannabis use is a natural indigenous right, and people have been using it for over 10,000 years, who are you to prohibit God's creation, plant prohibition is unnantural.


Zebulon, your view is like that of the Nazis.

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-22 4:14:18 PM

More on cannabis and religion

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-22 4:20:24 PM

Zevon, humanity has a natural indigenous right to the plants of the earth and our relationship with cannabis os over 10,000 yrs old http://www.opposingviews.com/i/cannabis-has-always-played-an-important-role-in-religion
What you advocate is comparable to the medieval witch burnings.

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-22 4:22:48 PM

Shane check out these tree like images of cannabis http://www.google.ca/images?hl=en&q=cannabis+tree&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=bczQS8fAFYH4sgPXsO3ICQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQsAQwAA

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-22 4:24:20 PM

Smoke/deal drugs. Go to jail. Become a martyr. In 200 years you will become a saint.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2010-04-22 7:22:05 PM

The word kaneh or kâneh-bosem ( the singular form — kaneh-bos http://www.gnostics.com/numbers-7.html ) appears several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. The word also appears in Isaiah 43:24; Jeremiah 6:20; Ezekiel 27:19 and Songs of Solomon 4:14.

Exodus 30:23-25 explains how God gave Moses the specific ingredients in Holy Anointing Oil. This has been confirmed by the Hebrew University though not all (outside) sources agree. Sula Benet was the Polish anthropologist who asserted that the word kaneh-bosm refers to cannabis and that which was used in ancient Jewish religious rites.

In order for Jesus/Yeshua to become the Christ [meaning: Anointed One or Messiah] He would have had to have been anointed (by John the Baptist) with the oil designated by God in Exodus 30:23-25.

Moreover, the Holy Anointing Oil Container of James the Just and the Apostles has recently been discovered. at least two of the eight artifacts were obviously ceremonial pieces which may have well been used by James the Just, the brother of Jesus, who is said to be the first pastor of the church, or perhaps even by one or more of the Twelve Apostles.

One of the eight artifacts is a brick-sized block of well-worn local marble. This piece bears an etched version of the Messianic Seal with a Taw (the last letter in the ancient Hebrew alphabet that looks exactly like a sign of the cross) in the eye of the fish symbol, as well as the ancient Aramaic lettering proclaiming the use of this artifact as a stand to hold a vial of anointing oil.

The ancient Aramaic is transliterated as, "La Shemen Ruehon" (For the Oil of the Spirit).

Rev. Bro. Wayne Phillips
Minister, the Assembly of the Church of the Universe
Hamilton, ON

Posted by: Rev. Bro. Wayne Phillips | 2010-04-22 8:40:17 PM

Reverend, you should know that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Actually, you should know that the true saying is that it is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle. When the Bible was translated into Greek, the word kamilos "camel" was somehow substituted for kamêlos "cable, rope." The mistake has been perpetuated in every language in which the Bible has been printed for 2,000 years.

And so it is with your hash-oil anointing of the Messiah. You conflate the Hebrew word qannabbos "cannabis" with qené bósem "fragrant cane," a plant since identified as calamus (also called "sweet flag" today). Unlike cannabis oil, which is basically hashish, calamus oil has long been used in perfumery. Just as the parable of the needle makes more sense with a rope than a dromedary, it is more likely that holy oils were prepared from a perfume base rather than a substance known for its incredibly, remarkably offensive stink.

Moral of the story: If it is your aim to rewrite history, you're going to need more in your bag of tricks than a couple of homonyms. Amen.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-22 9:14:23 PM

I did, Apocalypse. I'm not impressed. Tree-like does not mean tree, which botanically speaking is a woody perennial plant, whereas cannabis is an annual herb.

I'm beginning to wonder if you pot boosters are even capable of telling the truth.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-22 9:19:10 PM

The Bible has been used to defend all sorts of illicit activities, such as slave ownership, racial and ethnic discrimination and genocide. It has also been used to oppose those same things.

Thankfully we live in a secular society where laws, not religion, rule. So, argue Biblical passages all you like, it is unlikely to win. It's quite sad to see so many people destroy themselves this way.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-04-22 9:20:22 PM

P.S. Sure it can grow as big as a tree--a bonsai sapling.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-22 9:23:44 PM

P.S.S. Man has NO indigenous rights, Apocalypse. Such rights as he has, he gave himself. That which is given may also be taken.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-22 9:25:59 PM

Oh oh Zeb it appears even Shane doesn't read your posts anymore or else he would be going fanatic on you about disparaging religion like that. Because reading an old book about a sky magician that turns himself into a zombie then grows wings and flies to a magical place in the sky isn't silly. But for someone to want to partake in a harmless plant that harms no one else is silly according to him.

Posted by: Bret | 2010-04-22 10:02:10 PM

True Rastafarian religion also believes that smoking Mj is a part of their religion. They have been around for awhile and have about 600 000 members. Is there any instances of them challenging laws like the church noted in the post?


Posted by: Bret | 2010-04-22 10:15:42 PM

Actually, Bret, your source indicates that estimates of Rastafarians number between 200,000 and two million. That's a pretty loose and subjective figure. But nebulous numbers are pretty much par for the course when it comes to matters cannabis.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-22 10:49:55 PM

P.S. And Bret, Zeb didn't actually disparage religion. You're dancing yet again.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-22 10:51:35 PM

Shane old salt, you might have a point if Revelation had been written in English.... LMAO the Greek xulon is less clear, meaning everything from tree, stick, staff, stock, fuel material..... the name cannabis itself comes from the same root as cane, and makes reference to stalk, and has been used in the same way staff has been it was also used as fuel, as cannabis burns at a very high heat due to its considerable cellulose content.

So how many trees do you know that bare 12 manners of fruits, as in cannabis' industrial and food products, and have leaves for the healing of the nations, as in cannabis medicine?

Get a hold of yourself son, the apocalypse is just getting going, and make way for the Tree of Life! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZD5t0toQts

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 1:34:52 AM

So Shane, I am concerned I think your cannibinoid levels are dangerously low http://health.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/10/are-you-cannabis-deficient/

At what point do you think it is alright for control freaks like you to try and punish people for using one of natures flowers in the name of religion? 200,000? 2 million? Your petty nitpicking is evidence of the failure of your view.

The sacramental use of cannabis predates any exisitng religion by millenia, moreover, cannabis is the spiritual fount from which many of them first sprung forth http://www.opposingviews.com/i/cannabis-has-always-played-an-important-role-in-religion
watch it all happen again.

Welcome to the Apocalypse :)

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 1:45:21 AM


As Charles says I meant peaceful religious practices. A key component of freedom is that everyone must be free, and the religious duty to kill your daughter makes no one free.

I actually considered when I was writing this post defining a cult as a religious group that does harm to its members. But that is kind of a tricky definition so I left it out.

I find this discussion about the role of cannabis in early Judaism/Christianity interesting. But really it is hampered in the same way that all such discussions are hampered: there is a limited and unreliable source material.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2010-04-23 2:15:15 AM

Given your habit of comparing trees to shrubs, Doc, I think I'm safe in questioning your etymological talents. I don't find your literary license convincing, nor your refusal to be held to known facts. In fact, you show the muddled and sloppy thinking associated with heavy marijuana use, and also paranoia in the form of delusions of persecution.

By the way, I don't know of a single religion that advocates pickling your brain. Even tribal societies that use drugs for religious purposes generally do so in a highly ritualized and controlled manner, on special or semi-special occasions. Certainly few if any consume the equivalent of two bongs a day, every day. The hunters certainly couldn't; they'd never catch anything.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-23 6:48:46 AM

I know why druggies are so desperate: they're addicting to drugs, which retards their ability to think clearly. If they had any sense, they'd see the futility of trying to pass their activities off as religion. it's like a child pornographer arguing that they love the kids, or saying a Holocaust denier is only interested in the truth, or an Ontarian trying to legitimize bigotry as a progressive idea. It will never work.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-04-23 7:21:40 AM

Shane, Zebulon,

To anybody who has a remotly accurate knowledge of cannabis, you are making fools of yourselves.

Posted by: Reuben | 2010-04-23 10:41:35 AM

"Given your habit of comparing trees to shrubs, Doc, I think I'm safe in questioning your etymological talents."

LMAO, you mean your child like view that the Bible you have was written in the same language almost 2 millennia ago. Time to grow up little feelow.

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 10:57:35 AM

One of Anthropologist Sula Benet’s, original articles regarding the keneh bosem theory http://books.google.ca/books?http://books.google.ca/books?id=CBXxnaGk0hwC&pg=PA40&dq=exodus+30:23+cannabis&lr=#v=onepage&q=exodus%2030%3A23%20cannabis&f=false

As Sula Benet herself notes: “In the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament there are references to hemp, both as incense, which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant” (Benet 1975: 1936). Through comparative etymological study, Benet documented that in the Old Testament and in its Aramaic translation, the Targum Onculos, hemp is referred to as keneh bosem (variously translated as kaneh bosem, kaniebosm, q’neh bosm ) and is also rendered in traditional Hebrew as kannabos or kannabus. The root “kana” in this construction means “cane~reed” or “hemp”, while “bosm” means “aromatic”. This word appeared in Exodus 30:23, whereas in the Song of Songs 4:14, Isaiah 43:24, Jeremiah 6:20, Ezekiel 27:19 the term keneh (or q’aneh) is used without the adjunct bosem.

Anthropologist Vera Rubin (Jewish, so she knows the language) http://www.thereedfoundation.org/rism/Rubin.html
Vera Rubin noted, that cannabis “appears in the OLD TESTAMENT because of the ritual and sacred aspect of it” (Rubin 1978).

The German researcher Immanuel Low, in his DIE FLORA DER JUDEN (1926\1967) identified a number of ancient Hebrew references to cannabis, here as an incense, food source, as well as cloth, noting the keneh, and keneh bosem references amongst others in this regard, independent of Benet . Interestingly, Immanuel Löw, referred to an ancient Jewish Passover recipe that called for wine to be mixed with ground up saffron and hasisat surur, which he saw as a “a kind of deck name for the resin the Cannabis sativa” (Low, 1924). Low suggests that this preparation was also made into a burnable and fragrant concoction by being combined with Saffron and Arabic Gum (Low, 1926\1967).

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, a noted American Orthodox rabbi and author. In THE LIVING TORAH, Kaplan notes that “On the basis of cognate pronunciation and a Septuagint reading, some identify Keneh bosem with English and Greek cannabis, the hemp plant” (Kaplan, 1981). Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan has also noted of early Kabalistic magical schools who used magic and other means of communion for mystic exploration, that “some practices include the use of ‘grasses,’ which were possibly psychedelic drugs” (Kaplan, 1993). The Kabalistic text the Zohar records:

“There is no grass or herb that grows in which G-d’s wisdom is not greatly manifested and which cannot exert great influence in heaven” and “If men but knew the wisdom of all the Holy One, blessed be He, has planted in the earth, and the power of all that is to be found in the world, they would proclaim the power of their L-rd in His great wisdom.” (Zohar.2,80B) Like the Zoroastrian royalty and priesthood, there are indications that early Kabbalists enjoyed the use of the herb, but prevented its consumption by the common people. In the P'sachim, “Rav Yehudah says it is good to eat... the essence of hemp seed in Babylonian broth; but it is not lawful to mention this in the presence of an illiterate man, because he might derive a benefit from the knowledge not meant for him.- Nedarim, fol. 49, col. 1” (Harris, et al., 2004). Other sources have noted a Kabbalistic comparison to the effects of cannabis with divine perception, noting an “intriguing reference to cannabis in the context of a fleeting knowledge of God: Zohar Hadash, Bereshit, 16a (Midrash ha-Ne’elam)” (Gross, et al., 1983). Thus, evidence for the use of cannabis in Jewish mysticism does exist,and this fits in well with the suggestions for the role of q’neh in pre-reformation Israel and Judea.

In 1980 the respected anthropologist Weston La Barre (1980) referred to the Biblical references in an essay on cannabis, concurring with Benet’s earlier hypothesis. In that same year respected British Journal New Scientist also ran a story that referred to the Hebrew OLD TESTAMENT references: “Linguistic evidence indicates that in the original Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the Old Testament the ‘holy oil’ which God directed Moses to make (Exodus 30:23) was composed of myrrh, cinnamon, cannabis and cassia” (Malyon & Henman 1980).

As well, William McKim noted in DRUGS AND BEHAVIOUR, “It is likely that the Hebrews used cannabis... In the OLD TESTAMENT (Exodus 30:23), God tells Moses to make a holy oil of ‘myrrh, sweet cinnamon, kaneh bosem and kassia’” (McKim, 1986). A MINISTER’S HANDOOK OF MENTAL DISORDERS also records that “Some scholars believe that God’s command to Moses (Exodus 30:23) to make a holy oil included cannabis as one of the chosen ingredients” (Ciarrocchi, 1993).

Independent support for Benet’s view of the Semitic origins of the term kaneh can be found in THE WORD: THE DICTIONARY THAT REVEALS THE HEBREW SOURCE OF ENGLISH, by Isaac E. Mozeson. In reference to Hebrew kaneh, Mozeson follows a similar view to Benet’s that the “so-called IE root kanna... is admitted to be “of Semitic origin”....the IE word kannabis (hemp - a late IE word borrowed from an unknown source)” (Mozeson, 1989)....KANBOOS is an early post biblical term for hemp... The word HEMP is traced to Greek kannabis and Persian kannab... The ultimate etymon is conceded by Webster’s to be “a very early borrowing from a non-IE, possibly Semitic language.... In seeking related words... consider Aramaic... KENABH... and [Hebrew] KANEH...” (Mozeson, 1989) Interestingly Mozeson makes no reference to calamus in the context of the term kaneh.

Prof. Carl Ruck, Classical Mythology, Boston University , (also a linguist)

Cannabis is called kaneh bosem in Hebrew, which is now recognized as the Scythian word that Herodotus wrote as kannabis (or cannabis). The translators of the bible translate this usually as ‘fragrant cane,’ i.e., an aromatic grass. Once the word is correctly translated, the use of cannabis in the bible is clear. Large amounts of it were compounded into the ointment for the ordination of the priest. This ointment was also used to anoint the holy vessels in the Inner Sanctum or Tabernacle (‘tent’). It was also used to fumigate the holy enclosed space. The ointment (absorbed through the skin) and the fragrance of the vessels (both absorbed by handling and inhaled as perfume) and the smoke of the incense in the confined space would have been a very effective means of administering the psychoactive properties of the plant. Since it was only the High Priest who entered the Tabernacle, it was an experience reserved for him, although as the chrism of priestly ordination it was probably also something experienced in a different way by the whole priesthood. This same psychoactive chrism was later used for the coronation of the kings.

As well, my co-author of Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible, Neil McQueen, who has a Masters in religious Studies and a degree in Hebrew, is also a supporter of Benet’s theory

As well, there is other linguistic evidence:

In different publications of A Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature, the 19th century scholar John Kitto put forth two, potentially related, etymologies for “hashish”, through Hebrew terms Shesh, which originates in reference to some sort of “fibre plant”, and the possibly related word, Eshishah, (E-shesh-ah?) which holds connotations of “syrup” or “unguent”.

“SHESH... also SHESHI, translated fine linen in the Authorized Version, occurs twenty eight times in Exodus, once in Genesis, once in Proverbs, and three times in Ezekiel. Considerable doubts have, however, always been entertained respecting the true meaning of the word; some have thought it signified fine wool, others silk; the Arabs have translated it by words referring to colours in the passages of Ezekiel and of Proverbs. Some of the Rabbins state that it is the same word as that which denotes the number six, and that it refers to the number of threads of which the yarn was composed. ... This interpretation, however, has satisfied but few....

Shesh... must... be taken into consideration. In several passages where we find the word used, we do not obtain any information respecting the plant; but it is clear it was spun by women (Exod. xxx. 25), was used as an article of clothing, also for hangings, and even for the sails of ships, as in Ezekiel xxvii. 7. It is evident from these facts that it must have been a plant known as cultivated in Egypt at the earliest period, and which, or its fibre, the Israelites were able to obtain even when in the desert. As cotton does not appear to have been known at this very early period, we must seek for shesh among the other fibre yielding plants, such as flax and hemp. Both these are suited to the purpose, and were procurable in those countries at the times specified. Lexicographers do not give us much assistance in determining the point, from the little certainty in their inferences. The word shesh, however, appears to us to have a very great resemblance, with the exception of the aspirate, to the Arabic name of a plant, which, it is curious, was also one of those earliest cultivated for its fibre, namely hemp. Of this plant, one of the Arabic names is... husheesh, or the herb par excellence, the term being sometimes applied to the powdered leaves only, with which an intoxicating electuary is prepared. This name has long been known, and is thought by some to have given origin to our word assassin, or hassasin. Makrizi treats of the hemp in his account of the ancient pleasure grounds in the vicinity of Cairo, “famous above all for the sale of the hasheesha,, which is still greedily consumed by the dregs of the people, and from the consumption of which sprung the excesses, which led to the name of ‘assassin’ being given to the Saracens in the holy wars.”

“Hemp is a plant which in the present day is extensively distributed, being cultivated in Europe, and extending through Persia to the southernmost parts of India. There is no doubt, therefore, that ‘it might easily have been cultivated in Egypt. We are, indeed, unable at present to prove that it was cultivated in Egypt at an early period, and used for making garments, but there is nothing improbable in its having been so. Indeed, as it was known to various Asiatic nations, it could hardly have been unknown to the Egyptians. Hemp might thus have been used at an early period, along with flax and wool, for making cloth for garments and for hangings, and would be much valued until cotton and the finer kinds of linen came to be known.... There is no doubt... that it might easily have been cultivated in Egypt.”

“...Indeed, as it was known to various Asiatic nations, it could hardly have been unknown to the Egyptians, and the similarity of the word hasheesh to the Arabic shesh would lead to a belief that they were acquainted with it...” (Kitto, 1856)

“ESHISHAH, eshishah, once translated ‘flagon’ only: in three passages ‘flagon of wine’ and once ‘flagon’ with grapes joined to it in the original, as noticed in the margin (Hosea iii. 1). The Sept. renders it in four different ways, viz. ... ‘a cake from the frying- pan’ (2 Sam. vi. 19); in another part, which narrates the same fact..., ‘a sweet cake of fine flour and honey’ (1 Chron. xvi. 3)... a cake made with raisins (Hos. iii. 1), *raisins here corresponding to ‘grapes’ in the Hebrew ; and by one copy..., ‘sweet cakes’ (Cant. ii. 5) ; but in others ‘unguents’ [!-emphasis added]. In the Targum to the Hebrew... tzappikhith. in Exod. xvi. 31, the Chaldee term is... [Hebrew] ethiilian, ‘a cake,’ rendered in our version by ‘wafers.’ Eshishah has been supposed to be connected with [Hebrew]... ash, ‘fire’ and to denote some sort of ‘sweet cake’ prepared with fire; but the second part of the word has not been hitherto explained.”

“Perhaps the following extract from Olearius (1637) may throw light on the kind of preparations denoted by shemarin [preserves or jellies] and eshishah: ‘The Persians are permitted to make a sirrup of sweet wine, which they boyl till it be reduc’d to a sixth part, and be grown as thick as oyl. They call this drug duschab [debhash], and when they would take, of it, they dissolve it with water.’ ‘Sometimes they boyl the duschab so long that they reduce it into a paste, for the convenience of travellers, who cut it with a knife, and dissolve it in water.’ At Tabris they make a certain conserve of it, which they call halva... mixing therewith beaten almonds, flour, &c. They put this mixture into a long and narrow bag, and having set it under the press, they make of it a paste, which grows so hard that a man must have a hatchet to cut it. They make also a kind of conserve of it, much like a pudding, which they call zutzuch, thrusting through the middle of it a small cotton thread to keep the paste together... Amongst the presents received by the ambassadors there is enumerated ‘a bottle of scherab [syrup] or Persian wine’... This zutzuch is but a harsh corruption of the Hebrew eshishah, and is by others called hashish and achicha. Even this substance, in course of time, was converted into a medium of intoxication by means of drugs. Hemp is cultivated and used as a narcotic over all Arabia. The flowers, when mixed with tobacco, are called hashish. The higher classes eat it (hemp) in a jelly or paste called majoon mixed with honey, or other sweet drugs’ ... De Sacy and Lane derive the name of the Eastern sect of ‘Assassins’ (Hashshusheen). ‘hemp- eaters,’ from their practice of using shahdanaj [Persian – cannabis] to fit them for their dreadful work. El-ldreesee, indeed, applies the term Hasheesheeyeh to the ‘Assassins.’” (Kitto, 1845/1854)

In a 1903 essay, Indications of the Hachish-Vice in the Old Testament A British physician, Dr. C. Creighton, concluded that several references to marijuana can be found in the Old Testament. Examples are the ‘honeycomb’ referred to in the Song of Solomon, 5:1, and the ‘honeywood’ in I Samuel 14: 25-45” (Consumer Reports 1972). Creighton felt that in “the O.T. there are some half-dozen passages where cryptic references to hachish may be discovered... But that word, which is the key to the meaning, has been knowingly mistranslated in the Vulgate and in the modern version, having been rendered by a variant also by the LXX in one of the passages, and confessed as unintelligible in the other by the use of a marginal Hebrew word in Greek letters” (Creighton 1903).

“Hachish, which is the disreputable intoxicant drug of the East...is of unknown antiquity. It is known that the fiber of hemp-plant, Cannabis sativa, was used for cordage in ancient times; and it is therefore probable that the resinous exudation, “honey” or “dew”, which is found upon its flowering tops on some soils, or in certain climates (Cannabis Indica), was known for its stimulant or intoxicant properties from an equally early date...we may assume it to have been traditional among the Semites from remote antiquity. There are reasons, in the nature of the case, why there should be no clear history. All vices are veiled from view; they are sub rosa; and that is true especially of the vices of the East. Where they are alluded to at all, it is in cryptic, subtle...and allegorical terms. Therefore if we are to discover them, we must be prepared to look below the surface of the text.” (Creighton 1903)

Dr. Creighton put forth the idea that the tale of Nebuchadnezzar eating grass gave indication of cannabis use. He stated that “in the case of Daniel’s apologue of Nebuchadnezzar’s fall, it arises from the eating of ‘grass’, the Semitic word having both a generic and a colloquial meaning (hachish), as well as from the introduction of the subjective perceptions of hachish intoxication as gigantic or grotesque objects” (Creighton 1903).

The German researcher Immanuel Low, in his DIE FLORA DER JUDEN (1926\1967) identified a number of ancient Hebrew references to cannabis, here as an incense, food source, as well as cloth, noting the keneh, and keneh bosem references amongst others in this regard independent of Benet . Interestingly, Immanuel Löw, referred to an ancient Jewish Passover recipe that called for wine to be mixed with ground up saffron and hasisat surur, which he saw as a “a kind of deck name for the resin the Cannabis sativa” (Low, 1924). Low suggests that this preparation was also made into a burnable and fragrant concoction by being combined with Saffron and Arabic Gum (Low, 1926\1967).

Botanist William Emboden the “shamanistic Ashera priestesses of pre-reformation Jerusalem… anointed their skins with… [a cannabis] mixture as well as burned it” (Emboden 1972).

Professor Stanley Moore, chairman of the philosophy department of the University of Wisconsin-Olatteville, has stated that Biblical references to “aromatic herbs” and “smoke” could mean psycho-active drugs used in religious observances that Moore said are as old as religion itself. “Western Jews and Christians, who shun psycho-active drugs in their faith practices, are the exception, not the norm.”

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 11:00:44 AM

does everything on this site have to be about pot?

Posted by: Floyd Looney | 2010-04-23 11:01:58 AM

I supposed to anyone who abuses drugs and destroys their minds, anything would sound foolish. This is why they're so easy to challenge with logic and fact. It's easier than removing lint.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-04-23 11:09:21 AM

So Zebulon, you think you are putting forth logic and fact? Could you point to some of those? All I am getting from yo is emotional reaction and unfounded opinion.

You are a funny little fellow.

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 11:48:37 AM

Pike, count the number of posts that I've done in the past month on pot, then tell me what percentage it is.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2010-04-23 11:48:55 AM

Sorry I wrote Pike when I meant Floyd

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2010-04-23 11:50:15 AM

I admit to having one emotion over this issue: contempt. Nothing you people say makes any sense or could possibly work in the real world. That is why I lump you people in with other lesser beings.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-04-23 12:10:38 PM

Zebulon, "Lesser beings" that is how all fascists and Nazis like to portray the human beings they persecute, it it easier to persecute a faceless group when you pidgeonhole them as less than human. That statemnt says a lot about you and your capacity both for intelligence and compassion.

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 12:30:40 PM

Who's persecuting anyone? I don't care what you do so long as you keep to yourselves. Pushing drugs is not the way to win people over; in fact, it is terrible. Even you people realize this by arguing that drugs cause no harm. If anything, you people put yourselves at a disadvantage, and then claim to be oppressed. Get off the drugs and wake up - you'll soon see what you've been doing to yourselves.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-04-23 12:35:23 PM

So prison sentences for smoking flowers is not a form of persecution? Hmmmm, curious "logic" there Mr. Z

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 12:52:57 PM

"As I've said for a long time, the drug culture is nothing more than a cult. It is a danger to the public, as much as sex offenders, Holocaust deniers, Canadian "history", and the Liebral/NDP/Green Party. They must be stopped for the good of all."

If that is not a battle cry for endorsing a pogrom of persecution, then I don't know what is. Imagine if you placed a race of people, or religious or political group in place of "drug culture" in that statement.... Again this says more about you Zebulon, than the issues being discussed here.

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 12:56:39 PM

I have no sympathy for self-inflicted minorities, aka losers.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-04-23 2:12:05 PM

So prison sentences for smoking flowers is not a form of persecution?

No, just as shooting someone dead on the spot for threatening to knock two rocks together isn't persecution, provided the two rocks in question are subcritical masses of uranium 235. It's all about the context.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-23 2:14:53 PM

Well thankfully, small minded individuals like you Zebulon, are being culled in the evolutionary process.

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 2:15:11 PM

So Shane in your view the personal consumption of cannabis, a vicimless crime at best, is the same sort of thing as someone intiiating a nuclear reaction? You are so very Shrill.

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 2:55:31 PM

Did I say it was the same, Apo? I offered it as an example of the importance of context. But by all means, keep talking. You may rest assured that if there are any fence-sitters out there in the audience, your semi-lunatic ramblings have driven them into the camp of your enemies. The pot movement will die, Apo, and the best part of it is that the potheads are going to do all the work.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-23 6:41:07 PM

Hugh: regardless how many you have written, the pot/libertarian connection was too much for me, and was why I gave up on this site over a year ago. It is staggering to see how much pot means to those on this site....sad when there are so many other things going on in the world. Yet, I don't begrudge potheads and libertarians there need to get together. Enjoy!

Posted by: Markalta | 2010-04-23 6:55:56 PM

Sure thing Shane, I mean who can argue against your emotional unbacked up claims? LMAO.

The Pot Movement grows in leaps and bounds everyday, it is your paradigm which is dying.

Posted by: Dr. Apocalypse | 2010-04-23 7:15:41 PM

What was that about emotional "unbacked up" claims, Apo? And who told you this thread was about pot anyway? It's supposed to be about freedom of religion. Yet another barely related subject hijacked by yet another pushy dopetard. The only theism you acknowledge is autotheism.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-04-23 7:22:38 PM

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